Getaway Fact sheets
You are here: ninemsn > Travel > Getaway > Fact sheets

Guide to the Gold Coast

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Queensland's Gold Coast is one of Australia's most popular holiday destination. It boasts 245 days of fine weather a year and temperatures above 22 degrees for 279 days. It has sun, surf, sand, clean air, relaxed lifestyle, a huge range of accommodation and loads of attractions. As they say, something for everyone.

The Getaway crew decided to see if all the accolades were deserved, and Catriona, Natalie, Jules and Jason gave it a good going over!

Natalie, a native Queenslander, was warned to be unbiased as she travelled the 60 kilometre route from Coolangatta to Broadbeach.

Coolangatta to Broadbeach
Coolangatta, the gateway to the Gold Coast, is just north of the New South Wales border. It is close enough to the lively Gold Coast to enjoy it, but far enough away to have a quiet time. It has some of the coast's best beaches — particularly Rainbow Bay, one of only two north-facing on the coast. It's protected and offers safe swimming.

Earth 'n' Sea Pizza & Pasta Family Restaurant serves ten varieties of pasta, twenty kinds of pizza and some delicious desserts at reasonable prices. Eat in air-conditioned comfort or al fresco or have a meal delivered any day of the week.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has been a popular place for almost 60 years. Home to over 1400 native Australian animals in natural bushland and rainforest, the Sanctuary offers a world of discovery. Brilliantly coloured lorikeets are the main attraction, but there is lots to see and all revenue is used to further conservation, education and research.

Burleigh Heads is one of the Coast's favourite surf spots. It has a good range of accommodation, shops, cafés, supermarket and pub. Its National Park gives great scenery, lots of wildlife and beaches with picnic and barbecue areas.

It's so good there that champion surfer Mark Occhilupo has made the Gold Coast home. The goofy-footer burst onto the scene at just 16 and stayed on top of the sport year in and year out. In the early 90s he succumbed to burnout, but after a long break, won the World Title in 1999. The legend has redefined surfing boundaries and captured the heart of many people.

LeBeach Apartments has 32 self-contained apartments on three levels. Each has a balcony overlooking the pool and barbecue area. Set in landscaped gardens, it is a short walk to shops and the beach.

Oskars is one of the Gold Coast's most highly respected dining establishments. It has been satisfying the most discerning eaters for 28 years and has been rewarded with many awards. Crayfish, scallops, king prawns, snapper, Moreton Bay bugs, steak, lamb, poultry all perfectly presented and prepared in the style which has made Oskars the icon it is.

Mermaid Beach Bowls Club is popular with young and old alike. Visitors are very welcome and bistro meals are very cheap. The club has a lounge area, bar, bistro, Keno facilities and thirty-two poker machines. On Sundays barefoot bowls and free barbecue gets the place jumping.

The multi-levelled Quest Lounge Bar and Club has taken the Coast by storm. It has entertainment every night presented in international standards with advanced sound and lighting, all in an Egyptian theme.

Lauxes VIP Champagne Salon could be the most beautiful venue to open on the Coast. Patrons wine and dine overlooking Victoria Park while enjoying the house specialty — champagne! Food is a fusion of Japanese and modern Australian … try the champagne risotto!

Pacific Fair is the largest shopping centre on the Coast. The place to go when you need retail therapy. It has over 300 stores and services, plenty of food and drink outlets.

Surfers Paradise
The centre of all the action, Surfers Paradise attracts around 1 million visitors every year. It has an overwhelming array of accommodation, ranging from camping grounds to serviced apartments to five-star hotels.

Surfers Paradise is the apartment capital of Australia, with a vast majority for rent. Most are listed with a centralised booking system, and those that aren't are probably managed by a resorts group. If they have no affiliation with a booking system or group then you'll need to go direct to their website.

Courtyard by Marriott Surfers Paradise Resort in the heart of the action is a short stroll from the beach, Centro shopping complex, restaurants, entertainment and nightlife. Its 405 rooms have beach, skyline and/or hinterland views.

There are eating venues galore in Surfers, and Tedder Avenue is sure to have a place to your liking, but for a really great meal, go where the locals go. Northcliffe Surf Life Saving Club has long been a favourite. Great food, prices and views all in the one place. King Tutt's Putt Putt is a family mini golf challenge with three 18-hole courses. Loads of fun and challenging for all ages.

Spacewalker is another one — take a journey across the universe through space-themed environments in a 90 minute inter-galactic out-of-this-world experience.

Slingshot propels you over 100 metres at speeds of around 160km/h. Powered by a spring propulsion device, it is one of the most exciting rides imaginable.

Vomatron is a giant propeller with seats on each end. It is powered by two electric motors which rotate the 40 metre arc at speeds of over 120km/h, throwing the capsules into extreme spins and just when you think it's all over, it does the same thing in reverse!

Flycoaster is a variation on a bungee jump for three people. Flyers are towed to a 12-storey height, pull a ripcord and free-fall for two metres in 1.3 seconds.

While you're in the souvenir capital of Australia, you will no doubt be tempted to buy something for a laugh. Tasteful doesn't enter into it as you will see when browsing plastic koalas, tacky t-shirts, hats, photo frames and other irresistible merchandise including the ubiquitous stubby holder.

Cavill Avenue by day
Catriona was given the job of checking out Cavill Avenue, the best known street in Surfers. Named after Jim Cavill, a hotelier who gave birth to tourism there, it is lined with all sorts of shops, nightclubs, bars, fast food outlets and throngs of people.

Copenhagen Ice Cream has been there for 22 years, and still offers 18 flavours of ice cream and 16 of gelato in cones made on the premises.

Surfers Paradise Bowling Centre has 16 glow-in-the-dark lanes operating all day. It has nightclub lighting, eight projector screens showing film clips and cartoons, and BYO drinks attract the young crowds in the evening.

Charlies Café Restaurant & Bar opened in 1976 and hasn't closed its doors since. Its black and white movie theme was based on Charlie Chaplin. Many have tried to copy it, without success, and people return for a hearty lunch, to start or end their day or just to relax with a cold drink.

Raptis Plaza boutique and restaurants line the grand promenade under the arched skylight. It has 194 retail outlets and six restaurants. It also has one of two full size replicas in the world of Michelangelo's David, carved from a 33 tonne block of Carrara marble.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not displays everything from the world's tallest man to a story-telling leprechaun. Take a tour through twelve galleries with hundreds of exhibits, stories, magic, mystery and illusions.

Surfers Paradise seems to have something for all holidaymakers, but unless you have just finished your schooling, it could be advisable to avoid Schoolies' Week in late November.

Cavill Avenue by night
Jules checked out Cavill Avenue by night, when the temperature is cooler but the street hots up.

Melbas Nightclub and Restaurant opened 25 yeas ago. The family-run establishment was voted best under-30s nightclub and the five-star restaurant serves great meals "all day every day". Known for its friendly and impeccable service, Melbas is highly regarded by locals and visitors alike.

Surfers Paradise Beer Garden has live music four nights a week, and attracts an eclectic mix of music lovers, or just those wanting to enjoy a cold drink and do a spot of people-watching. Balcony tables are popular for watching the never ending stream of holiday makers.

Money back guarantee: Best kebabs in Surfers! That's a big statement, but the owners of Jack's Kebabs reckon they are the best. Beef, lamb and chicken delicacies are offered until four am on Fridays and Saturdays and midnight other nights.

When you've had all the food and drink you can handle, a walk could be a good idea. Don't be in a hurry and enjoy the weird and wonderful night buskers. You could see acrobats or Elvis impersonators, living statues, singers and musicians and puppeteers. It's a great way to end your night on Cavill Avenue!

Theme parks
Our new recruit Jason tested the Coast's famous theme parks — Sea World, Warner Bros Movie World, Wet 'n' Wild Water World and Australian Outback Spectacular.

Sea World has loads of way to experience sea creatures up-close, watch the waterskiing show, check out the polar bear exhibit and enjoy the crowd favourite, Dolphin Cove.

At Warner Bros Movie World, magic happens every day. Check out the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, meet your favourite stars and see what goes on behind-the-scenes. Shrek 4D is fun, and a great attraction is Police Academy stunt show. Loony Tunes Village has some great rides and Batwing Spaceshot is a new attraction.

Dreamworld is Australia's largest theme park. It has thrill rides, Nick Central, Tiger Island, FlowRider and Australian wildlife. The tall and fast rides give spine-tingling thrills, Nick Central has sixteen rides and at Wiggles World you can ride in the Big Red Car!

Australian Outback Spectacular captures the true outback spirit. There is a dinner show, filled with ½ hours of music, drama and action, and a three-course barbecue. Enjoy beer, wine or soft drink and everyone is given a stockman's hat to take home.

If there's any money left in the kitty after all the rides, why not head to Marina Mirage. Just 200 metres from Seaworld, the complex has over 70 designer boutiques, galleries, specialty shops, restaurants and cafés. Check out the Louis Vuitton, Escada and Hermes labels, shoulder to shoulder with some of our own such as George Gross and Harry Who, Liz Davenport and Pia de Pradal.

As Catriona discovered, the Gold Coast is much more than beaches and highrise. The Hinterland, under an hour's drive from the coast, is made up of the McPherson Range which has nine National Parks full of trails, activities and wildlife. There are also galleries, craft shops, cafés and a range of accommodation.

The Hinterland stretches from Springbrook and Lamington in the south to Mt Tamborine in the north. The two main towns are Mudgeeraba and Nerang. The Nerang River is an important part of cotton, dairy, sugar and timber industries.

Numinbah Valley Trails give the adventure ride of a lifetime. Horse lovers of all ages will love the choice of horses and the beautiful unspoilt mountain, rainforest and river scenery they take you through.

Mount Tamborine Winery was the first to be established in the Hinterland food and wine trail. The Hart family has continued growing, making and producing wines since 1990.

It is open every day from 10am for tastings, morning tea and lunch. It has won medals in the Great Aussie Meat Pie competition!

Binna Burra Mountain Lodge has been welcoming guests since the 1930s. It has 160 kilometres of graded National Park trails, winding through ancient Antarctic beech forest, exposed escarpments and heath land. Birds and wildlife is in abundance in the diverse ecosystem.

The Lodge accommodates a limited number of guests in rustic timber and log cabins, built from hand-cut tallow wood slabs. Some cabins are from the early days, and while they include modern amenities, there are no phones, clocks, radio or television.

Acacia Cabins have superb views of the Numinbah Valley or native rainforest from private balconies. Heritage Casuarina Cabins are nestled in native gardens. A spa bath is reached via a covered walkway.

Safari-style tents take two to four people. They have pine beds with mattresses, table and chairs, vinyl floors and opening windows with screens. A private verandah give a beautiful outlook. Take your own linen, or hire from the Lodge.

Powered and unpowered tent sites are suitable for campervans and smaller caravans.

The Clifftop Dining Room serves fresh home-style country cuisine, accompanied by spectacular views.


South-east Queensland.


Earth-n-Sea Pizzas are $16 for a small one, $25 for large and $30 for a giant size.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is open every day between 8am to 5pm. Entry is $29.50 for adults and $19.50 for children. Wildlife Adventure Tours run from 7pm to 9.45pm. They cost $49 for adults and $27 for children.

LeBeach Apartments start at $180 a night.

Oskars is open for lunch and dinner every day.

Mermaid Beach Bowls Club opens at 8am until late. Visitors are very welcome.

Quest Lounge Bar & Club has a $10 entry fee and is open from 9pm until 5am.

The Courtyard by Marriott

The Offer - $195
Overnight accommodation in a resort room for two adults including buffet breakfast and seafood buffet dinner.

Complimentary upgrade to an ocean view room for the first 25 bookings.

The offer is valid for stays between 01 April - 30 June 2007. All bookings are subject to availability and conditions apply. Bookings must be made before 05 April 2007. This offer is strictly limited and is valid for the first 100 bookings only.

For bookings call 07 55793499 and mention the Getaway viewers' special offer.

Northcliffe Surf Lifesaving Club opens for breakfast between 7:30 to noon, lunch and dinner are served between noon and 9pm. The bar is open from 10am to 10pm.

King Tutt Putt Putt costs $32 for a family, $13 for adults and $8 for children. It opens between 9am to 10pm.

Spacewalker is $29.90 for adults and $19.90 for children. It opens from 10am to 10pm every day.

Slingshot & Vomatron prices start at $15.

Flycoaster costs $39 for a single fly, $35 each for a double and $29 each for a triple. An extreme package is $55 for a single sly, photograph and t-shirt.

Timezone cards start at $1.25. Combo packages are $15 for two hours.

Surfers Paradise Bowling Centre is for families during the day and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights for the 18-30 year olds. One game is $12 for adults and $10 for children.

Charlies is open for 24 hours. Prices are reasonable for satisfying family meals.

Ripley's Believe It or Not entry is $15 for adults and $8 for children under the age of 13. Open every day from 9am to 11pm.

Melbas Nightclub cover charge starts at $10.

Observation deck:

  • Adult $17.50
  • Child $10.00
  • Concession / Pensioner $12.50
  • Family (2 adults and 2 children) $45.00

Sea World entry is $64 for adults and $42 for children.

Warner Bros Movie World entry is $64 for adults and $42 for children.

Dreamworld entry is $64 for adults and $42 for children. WhiteWater World entry is $42 for adults and $28 for children. Two Day World Pass with access to Dreamworld and WhiteWater World is $99 for adults and $66 for children.

Wet'n'Wild Water World entry is $42 for adults and $28 for children.

Three Park Super Pass to Seaworld MovieWorld and Wet 'n' Wild is $135 for adults and $85 for children. The pass is valid for five days.

Australian Outback Spectacular tickets are

  • Fun Pass, Adult $135.00, Child $86.00
  • Super Pass, Adult $170.00, Child $112.00

Valid until March 2007. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday.

Surfside Buslines 3 day Ezypass is $26 for adults and $13 for children.

Numinbah Valley Adventure Trails 3 hour horse rides are $80 for adults and $60 for children.

Binna Burra Mountain Lodge rates start at $110 per person. A country breakfast, guided morning and afternoon short walks, cheese platter at sunset and evening entertainment are included. Safari Tents start at $50 a double a night. Camping sites start at $11 per person a night.

Virgin Blue has flights to Coolangatta. One-way fares from;

  • Sydney, $48
  • Melbourne, $78
  • Adelaide, $98

Available for sale only until midnight EST February 15, 2007. Valid for travel between May 1 to June 21, 2007. Conditions apply.

Prices quoted are correct at February 15, 2007.

More information

Earth-n-Sea Pizza & Pasta
Showcase On the Beach
Marine Parade
Coolangatta 4225
Ph: (07) 5536 3477

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
28 Tomewin Street
Currumbin 4223
Ph: 1300 886 511
Fax: (07) 5598 1764

LeBeach Apartments
136 The Esplanade
Burleigh Heads 4220
Phone/Fax: (07) 5576 3777

Oskars Restaurant
43 Goodwin Terrace
Burleigh Heads 4220
Ph: (07) 5576 3722
Fax: (07) 5576 3788

Mermaid Beach Bowls Club
9 Markeri Street
Mermaid Beach 4218
Ph. (07) 5572 3463
Fax (07) 5575 4288

Quest Lounge Bar & Club
88 Surf Parade
Broadbeach 4218
Ph: (07) 5526 9000

Lauxes VIP Champagne Salon
Shop 1, 2685 Gold Coast Highway
Broadbeach 4218
Ph: (07) 5531 5555

Pacific Fair Shopping Centre
Hooker Boulevard
Broadbeach 4218
Ph: (07) 5581 5100
Fax: (07) 5581 5199

Courtyard Marriott Surfers Paradise
Surfers Paradise Boulevard
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5579 3499 1800 074 317
Fax: (07) 5592 0026

Northcliffe Surf Life Saving Club
Garfield Terrace and Thornton Street
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5539 8091
Fax: (07) 5531 7071

King Tutt's Putt Putt
Pandanus Avenue and Gold Coast Hwy
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5570 2277

Piazza on the Boulevard
Elkhorn Avenue
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5585 8100

Slingshot and Vomatron
6 Palm Avenue
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5570 2700

Fly Coaster
Cypress Avenue
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5539 0474
Fax: (07) 5539 0559

Copenhagen Ice Cream
Shop 207, Centro Surfers Paradise
3 Cavill Mall
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5575 4252

Timezone Surfers Paradise
Centro Surfers Paradise
Cavill Mall
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5539 9500

Surfers Paradise Bowling Centre
Paradise Centre
Cavill and Orchid Avenues
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5570 1322
Fax: 5570 3390

Charlie's Café
Cavill Mall
Cavill Avenue
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5538 5285

Raptis Plaza
The Esplanade
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5592 2123

Ripley's Believe It or Not
Raptis Plaza
Cavill Mall
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5592 0040

46 Cavill Avenue
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5592 6922 Restaurant
Ph: (07) 5538 7411 Nightclub

Surfers Paradise Beer Garden
Paradise Centre
Cavill and Orchid Avenues
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5570 1322
Fax: (07) 5570 3390

Jack's Kebabs
Shop 109A, Centro
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: 0410 836 101

Sea World
Sea World Drive
Gold Coast 4217
Ph: 07 5588 2205
Fax: 07 5591 1058

Warner Bros Movie World
Pacific Motorway
Oxenford 4210
Ph: (07) 5573 8485
Fax: (07) 5573 3666

Dreamworld and WhiteWater World
Dreamworld Parkway
Coomera 4209
Ph: (07) 5588 1111 1800 073 300
Fax: (07) 5588 1108

Australian Outback Spectacular
Entertainment Road
Oxenford 4210
Ph: 133 386

Marina Mirage
Seaworld Drive
Main Beach 4217
Ph: (07) 5555 6400
Fax: (07) 5555 6444

Gone Troppo T-Shirts
3183 Surfers Paradise Blvd
Surfers Paradise 4217
Ph: (07) 5592 0887

Surfside Buslines
1-10 Mercantile Court
Molendinar 4214
Ph: 13 12 30
Fax: (07) 5563 3854

Mount Tamborine Winery & Homestead
128 Long Street
Eagle Heights 4272
Ph: (07) 5545 3066

Binna Burra Mountain Lodge
Beechmont 4211
Ph: 1800 074 260 07 5533 3622

BMW Australia
783 Springvale Road
Mulgrave 3170
Ph: 1800 813 299
Fax: 1800 736 632

Numinbah Valley Adventure Trails
2524 Nerang Murwillumbah Road
Numinbah Valley 4211
Ph: (07) 55 33 41 37
Fax (07) 55 33 41 74

Gold Coast Burleigh Tourism

Helpful accommodation sites:

Virgin Blue
Ph: 13 6789

Related links


Brochure Search

Free electronic brochures with information, resources and holiday ideas for unique getaways.

Select a destination:
Sign up nowTo Receive the free Getaway newsletter